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How living in Pearland puts a priority on health and happiness

From sports to education, it's all here. Photo courtesy of PEDC

Texas is full of small towns, big cities, and everything in between, which gives residents a wide range of options when choosing where to live.

A closer look at Pearland, located south of Houston just outside of Beltway 8, reveals why it offers an ideal lifestyle for both employers and families looking to relocate.

Education is a priority in the community, evidenced by an educational attainment level that's well above the national average.

An impressive 49.7 percent of Pearland’s adult population holds a four-year degree or higher, compared to the national average of 32.9 percent, according to the latest American Community Survey estimates.

Located just off Pearland Parkway, the University of Houston-Clear Lake Campus provides the Pearland community convenient access to nationally accredited, career-building education opportunities. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in areas such as healthcare, education, business, criminology, and more.

Younger students in Pearland can benefit from the excellent public-school systems, with most students attending either Pearland Independent School District or Alvin Independent School District.

In Pearland, sports and recreation are a key component in the community. There are ample opportunities for children of all ages to participate in youth sports programs, and Pearland is home to the 2010, 2014, and 2015 Little League World Series finalists.

Between Pearland High School and Shadow Creek High School, a local school has played in four football state championship games in the last decade alone.

The city features world-class recreational opportunities for members of the community at any age. The 107,000-square-foot Pearland Recreation Center and Natatorium contains a gymnasium, weight room, activity room, racquetball courts, locker rooms, elevated indoor track, and a 50-meter competition pool.

With miles of trails and nearly 20 community and neighborhood parks, residents of Pearland are never far from accessible ways to prioritize their family’s health and wellness.

Pearland recently celebrated the grand opening for the second phase of the Sports Complex at Shadow Creek Ranch, which includes two turf fields and a multipurpose Miracle Field area designed to accommodate special needs athletes.

Pearland also offers public golf courses, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, soccer and multipurpose fields, numerous playgrounds and dog parks, a local YMCA, and several national and local health clubs.

To see more of what Pearland has to offer, head here.

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A research team housed out of the newly launched Rice Biotech Launch Pad received funding to scale tech that could slash cancer deaths in half. Photo via Rice University

A research funding agency has deployed capital into a team at Rice University that's working to develop a technology that could cut cancer-related deaths in half.

Rice researchers received $45 million from the National Institutes of Health's Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, to scale up development of a sense-and-respond implant technology. Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh leads the team developing the technology as principal investigator.

“Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags and external monitors, we’ll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a small device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real time,” he says in a news release. “This kind of ‘closed-loop therapy’ has been used for managing diabetes, where you have a glucose monitor that continuously talks to an insulin pump. But for cancer immunotherapy, it’s revolutionary.”

Joining Veiseh on the 19-person research project named THOR, which stands for “targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation,” is Amir Jazaeri, co-PI and professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The device they are developing is called HAMMR, or hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator.

“Cancer cells are continually evolving and adapting to therapy. However, currently available diagnostic tools, including radiologic tests, blood assays and biopsies, provide very infrequent and limited snapshots of this dynamic process," Jazaeri adds. "As a result, today’s therapies treat cancer as if it were a static disease. We believe THOR could transform the status quo by providing real-time data from the tumor environment that can in turn guide more effective and tumor-informed novel therapies.”

With a national team of engineers, physicians, and experts across synthetic biology, materials science, immunology, oncology, and more, the team will receive its funding through the Rice Biotech Launch Pad, a newly launched initiative led by Veiseh that exists to help life-saving medical innovation scale quickly.

"Rice is proud to be the recipient of the second major funding award from the ARPA-H, a new funding agency established last year to support research that catalyzes health breakthroughs," Rice President Reginald DesRoches says. "The research Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh is doing in leading this team is truly groundbreaking and could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. This is the type of research that makes a significant impact on the world.”

The initial focus of the technology will be on ovarian cancer, and this funding agreement includes a first-phase clinical trial of HAMMR for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer that's expected to take place in the fourth year of THOR’s multi-year project.

“The technology is broadly applicable for peritoneal cancers that affect the pancreas, liver, lungs and other organs,” Veiseh says. “The first clinical trial will focus on refractory recurrent ovarian cancer, and the benefit of that is that we have an ongoing trial for ovarian cancer with our encapsulated cytokine ‘drug factory’ technology. We'll be able to build on that experience. We have already demonstrated a unique model to go from concept to clinical trial within five years, and HAMMR is the next iteration of that approach.”

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